Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a set of symptoms which occur when the normal functioning of the brain is impaired by specific diseases and conditions.
The symptoms include memory loss, and difficulties with communication, reasoning and judgement, but as dementia is progressive, symptoms will worsen over time. The type of dementia is diagnosed by the specific disease or condition which has triggered the symptoms, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. According to Alzheimer’s Society there are about 800, 000 people in the UK living with dementia.
Each Salvation Army home provides care for residents over 65 years of age, many of whom live with physical, sensory and cognitive impairments such as dementia and who need assistance, encouragement or support with some or all aspects of their daily living. We aim to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of every individual, and recognise the special needs of residents who either have a diagnosis of dementia on admission to the home or who develop this illness during their life in the home. Our staff are trained in caring for residents with dementia. Care planning will include activities designed to engage residents with dementia, and are intended to facilitate the maintenance of skills, support communication, cope with memory loss and encourage hobbies, pastimes and everyday activities.
Care is taken with decoration and furnishings (including colours, visual prompts including signs and pictures) to create a helpful environment for these residents. In some homes, we have a more secure wing for those residents with dementia who experience behavioural symptoms which can be distressing for the individual, their carers and families. Behavioural symptoms may include aggression, restlessness, depression, psychosis, or loss of inhibitions. Care given by our staff is enhanced by the support of our chaplains who are also available to relatives and friends who may find dementia difficult to witness. They can provide emotional and spiritual support to anyone connected to the home but are always sensitive to the beliefs and backgrounds of each individual.